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Articles from September 2020

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COVID-19 Update: September 22

Dear Dubuque Schools Families and Staff,

As a district, we continue to closely monitor data related to COVID-19 in our community and our schools.

  • You can view the most recent count of active cases in the district on our COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated daily and provides the most accurate count of confirmed active cases in the district.

We also closely follow the indicators included in state guidance – the 14-day county positivity rate and student absenteeism due to illness.

According to guidance from the Iowa Department of Education, districts may request a temporary move to remote learning only after the county in which the district resides has a 14-day positivity rate as reported by the state exceeds 15 percent AND there is a greater than 10 percent student absentee rate due to illness.

  • We anticipate the state reported 14-day positivity rate for Dubuque County may exceed 15 percent. We also anticipate that an increase of positive COVID-19 cases in our community will result in an increase of cases among students and staff.
  • The district’s current daily student absentee rate due to illness is approximately 4 percent, which does not indicate that a move to remote education would currently be permitted by the state.
  • Based on these indicators used by the State, at this time we will continue to operate in our hybrid learning model with the many enhanced safety protocols in place across our district.

As we closely review all data indicators related to COVID-19, it is also important for us to examine what each indicator measures and how these data points relate to each other. As we do so, we must take into account the following considerations:

  • County data includes a broader geographical area than just the Dubuque Community School District.
  • As of this afternoon (Tuesday, Sept. 22), positive, active cases in the district equate to .41 percent of the 10,000 students and staff tracked on the district dashboard.
  • Based on contact tracing in collaboration with the Visiting Nurse Association, the overwhelming majority of these cases can be linked to interactions that occurred outside of the school day or through non-school-sponsored activities.
  • There is currently no indication of any spread within the school environment.


In the district, we have worked continuously to ensure that safety measures are in place in our schools. In fact, looking at the latest school-based mitigation indicators released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week, we fall into the lowest risk factor based on our implementation of the following five mitigation strategies:

  • Consistent and correct use of masks
  • Social distancing to the extent possible
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department


We can’t do it alone. We need your help in reversing the trend in our county. You can have a direct impact on our ability to continue providing educational and extracurricular offerings for students.

Please follow social distancing, wear face coverings and continue to follow hand washing and sanitization recommendations. We can turn the curve in Dubuque County and continue providing our students with in-person learning opportunities, but we will only do it together.

Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools


Dubuque Schools Students to Receive No-Cost Meals Beginning Monday, Sept. 21

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce that beginning Monday, Sept. 21, ALL STUDENTS in the Dubuque Community School District will receive NO-COST meals at school thanks to an extension of the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

This includes all meals served at district schools, and also includes the district’s four meal Grab n’ Go locations. The four meal pick-up locations will also now operate as open meal sites and will serve any individual 18 or under (with no infant formula or food served) at no-cost regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in a district school.

In order to help properly account for distribution, we still encourage the use of elementary student meal cards and middle/high school ID cards when getting meals from a Grab n’ Go location.

No-cost meals will continue for students until December 31 OR until funding for the program is depleted. When we are notified that the program will be ending, we will share that information with families.

All funds currently on meal accounts will remain in place and will be available for use after the extension ends. Students will still be able to purchase milk-only or a la carte items with available funds on their meal account.